Industry Insights – Ian Dixon of The Digital Lifestyle
This week we’re lucky to be joined by Ian Dixon of The Digital Lifestyle website fame. Ian has been involved in the Home Technology industry for quite awhile and has garnered a respectable following via his recently renamed “The Digital Lifestyle Show”. Let’s see what’s new with Ian and get to know him a bit:
Ian, thanks for taking the time to share some of your insight into the Home Technology industry. Considering the reputation you’ve established in the industry, I know our readers will look forward to hearing from you. I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity of both getting to know you better as well as working with you in the future!
Let’s do this then shall we?
HSI: I’d like to start out with the basics and give everyone an idea of your background. Do you have employment outside of running this website and if so, what is it that you do?
Ian Dixon: Yes I do have a full time job, I am an IT Manager for a logistics company so it’s still tech related and also involves traveling frequently to our office in Germany so taking my media is also important to me.
HSI: So what prompted you to start The Digital Lifestyle website and when did you start working on it?
Ian Dixon: I started podcasting in 2005 talking about Microsoft’s Windows Media Center system and created the site to go with the podcast. I wanted to a site for the community to interact and share ideas, best practices and news.
HSI: One of the things that you are quite well known for is “The Digital Lifestyle Show”. Would you please give our readers a little background on the show and any plans for the future?
Ian Dixon: I started the show focused on Windows Media Center because there was no other show talking about Media Center and then in the last couple of years I have expanded the scope of the show and we talk about a whole range of digital lifestyle topics. In the new year I will be going to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas to cover the all the tech news coming out of the show, this will be my 5th time at the show and it’s a highlight of the year
HSI: I’m assuming that you not only have a Windows Home Server in your home, but most likely also have played with and implemented various other technologies as well. Can you perhaps give us the low-down on your setup at home? Cover everything you wish, this is your chance to “brag”, as it were!
Ian Dixon: My main setup is a Tranquil ixL Media Center server connected to a 50” Sony LCD and my Denon Receiver , this is connected to my other Media Center PCs, a Windows Home Server and a HP Touchscreen. I also have one of the new Apple TVs in my office but this just a toy really and not part of my main setup. Compared to some of the fantastic system some of the listeners have, mine is fairly modest but it works well for me!
HSI: While staying on the topic of Windows Home Server, what do you see happening in this area as time progresses and new versions like the upcoming Windows Home Server “Vail” come into play? What is your take on Microsoft’s decision to remove Drive Extender?
Ian Dixon: I am really disappointed with the direction Microsoft is taking with WHS, drive extender was one of the main attractions for me and I was disappointed that Microsoft didn’t combine WHS and Media Center and make a home media server. I think Windows Home Server will be a niche product and could eventually be a business only product.
HSI: How do you see technologies like Media Streaming (streaming movies, music, etc) from the Internet affecting the Home Technologies industry as a whole?
Ian Dixon: I think more and more content will be streamed, the new Apple TV is streaming only and works well but internet speed is still an issue and I would rather have my content at home and be able to access it from any of my devices.
HSI: Do you feel that as people become more aware of, and use streaming media more that it will bring that awareness of technologies like Windows Home Server to the general public?
Ian Dixon: It could have done but I think WHS will not have much impact going forward. People are going to look at streaming via iTunes, Xbox 360 and other devices.
HSI: Finally, tell us how you think that raising the awareness of the general public about the fact that these technologies are now in reach of the general population and are no longer considered the “rich boy’s toys”, but also that they are also fairly easy to implement, will affect what kind of system integration we start to seen in people’s homes in the near future?
Ian Dixon: I think people are buying more and more music online and so are looking how they can stream that to their devices so technologies like DLNA, Media Streamers and Apple’s Airplay are introducing people to these technologies. The other thing driving this is services like Hulu, Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Consumers can get TV content over the Internet and are not tied to expensive cable contracts
HSI: Ian, with a full time job on top of running such a well-known website, I know you must be a busy guy! I really appreciate the time you’ve take in answering our interview questions and hope we’ve been able to give our readership a feel for who you are as a person and some of your aspirations. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to catch up with you at CES, certainly looking forward to that! But in the meantime, keep up the great work Ian! We have a whole world of eyes to open to the amazing new technology that directly affects our home system integration and helps create our Digital Lifestyle!
Catch Ian and the rest of the regulars on the Digital Lifestyle Show right here!